Eclipse 1949: I Shot Jesse James

This is a box set of three early Sam Fuller movies, and as such is an outlier in the Eclipse series — the films are mostly Japanese and French things where Janus Films had distribution rights.

And it’s odd that Criterion wouldn’t just release these movies as part of their regular series. I mean, Fuller’s a popular director. But I guess they know what they’re doing.


How er touching.

Oh yeah! I had forgotten that I had (started to) see The Assasinatetc, but it was terrible.

So this is an earlier version of the same story, but it has some of the same set pieces, like the bathing scene?

SPOILER ALERT Ford kills James.

It’s fascinating just how full on this is — the movie is like “of course Ford’s killing him” and then just gets on with it within the first twenty minutes.

It’s great.

This is really weird. I assume that this didn’t actually happen?

No, it’s apparently true:

This sentiment clashed with the general public opinion at the time of James’s death that it had been time for James to be stopped by any means. For a period, Bob earned money by posing for photographs as “the man who killed Jesse James” in dime museums. He also appeared on stage with his brother Charles, reenacting the murder in a touring stage show.

This looks really good. It apparently had a minuscule budget and shooting schedule, but you totally can’t tell.


It’s just that the last half of the movie isn’t as good as it should be?

Good performances and all.

Some scenes zing and other scenes are just there.

John Ireland is kinda perfect here — he does dim well.

La nuit américaine.

I Shot Jesse James. Samuel Fuller. 1949.

This blog post is part of the Eclipse series.

Leave a Reply